Buying student travel insurance? 5 key things you should check

By: | Published: July 12, 2016 5:27 PM

Besides covering medical costs, student travel insurance also provides cover for non-medical events such as loss of checked baggage, personal accident, loss of passport, accident to sponsor and personal liability cover.

Student Travel insuranceBesides covering medical costs, student travel insurance also provides cover for non-medical events such as loss of checked baggage, personal accident, loss of passport, accident to sponsor and personal liability cover. (Photo: Reuters)

If you are student travelling abroad for higher studies, we advised you to pack a Student Travel Insurance cover along with your other baggage. It could come in useful in a foreign land if you land up with medical emergencies and in certain other instance of loss.

Besides covering medical costs, student travel insurance also provides cover for non-medical events such as loss of checked baggage, personal accident, loss of passport, accident to sponsor and personal liability cover.

Some insurance policies also cover, university requirements pre-existing Illness, maternity cover, cancer screening and mammography, HIV Cover, Mental and alcohol-related disorder covers.

“Student insurance policy is specifically meant for students travelling abroad for higher education and has a perfect blend of benefits specifically directed towards insurance protocols of foreign universities,” says Abhijeet Ghosh, Head, Health Administration Team, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

With multiple options and combinations before you, how to you choose the cover most appropriate for you? Ghosh provides you a 5-point checklist to help you decide on which cover to purchase. Students should check the following before availing any student travel insurance plan:

University insurance policy: At the very outset, students must be aware of the university mandate for insurance requirements. They must ascertain whether it is mandatory to take the insurance cover from the concerned university or the university offers them the flexibility of buying it from their home country. Most universities in Schengen countries mandatorily ask students seeking admission to avail a travel insurance cover.

If an Indian student travel insurance cover is acceptable, it is essential to check if the benefit offered match the university’s requirements and proceed accordingly. The premiums to avail a policy from an Indian insurer would be much cheaper as compared to buying the policy overseas.

If the university insists on opting an insurance policy from one of that country’s insurers, the students must check if the pre-designed plan of the insurance company is in line with university requirements. It is advisable to purchase a cover even if there is no mandate from the university to carry a travel insurance cover.

Pricing Factor: Insurance policies purchased from an Indian insurance company is cheaper than the one offered overseas. The difference coulc be substantial. While one may be tempted to buy a policy offered at a low premium guaranteeing maximum coverage, students must always make a genuine attempt to know the plan in detail and do a thorough comparative study. For instance, if a student wishes to buy a travel insurance cover for USA for a sum insured of $50,000, s/he would have to shell out an annual premium of $1,400 (approximately Rs 76,000). However, if s/he avails the same plan for the USA from an Indian insurer, the premium would be around Rs 10,000 to Rs 11,000.

Policy deductibles and co-payment clauses: Policy deductible is the out-of-pocket expense which students need to bear before they can avail the benefits of health insurance. Co-payment is the amount that the student has to pay every time s/he visits the doctor or a hospital. The co-payment amount is over and above the policy deductible. As a thumb rule, the lower the policy deductible and co-payment, the higher would be the premium. Students need to diligently pick an insurance cover that has the right balance of the two.

Sub-limits and pre-existing ailments coverage: This is a very crucial factor to be considered before buying an insurance policy. Sub-limits are the upper limit applied on room rent, ICU expenses, diagnostic tests or ambulance charges by the insurance companies. Students must always choose a policy either without a sub-limit or one that has a higher sub-limit. Most student travel insurance policies do not cover pre-existing ailments, but if required by the university, the insurance company may provide this coverage.

Claim settlement history: Students should always check the claim settlement ratio of the company they are buying the insurance cover from. After spending a hefty amount on skyrocketing premiums, claim denial is the last thing one wants to face.

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